NTSB Identification: FTW03LA034.
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Accident occurred Friday, November 01, 2002 in New Braunfels, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/25/2003
Aircraft: Rockwell 690B, registration: N77UA
Injuries: 3 Uninjured.
NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
The gear in transient light remained illuminated during the initial climb. After recycling the gear and observing the light was still on, the pilot visually checked to ensure that the gear was retracted. After leveling off at 16,000 feet the pilot noticed the ball was not centered and added rudder trim to compensate. Two minutes later the airplane began to yaw and shake violently, followed by an uncommanded roll to the left of about 70 degrees with about a 10 to 15 degree pitch down attitude. The pilot manually disconnected the autopilot and reduced power. After losing 1,000 feet, control of the airplane was regained. Power was added and the airplane climbed back to 16,000 feet. After leveling off the pilot tentatively put pressure on each flight control to assess the problem and stability of the airplane. No adverse reactions to control inputs were noted, with the exception of a slight buffet approaching 200 to 210 knots. Power was then reduced to maintain a cruise speed below 200 knots. During the descent the airplane was slipping badly and the ball was all the way to the right, but the pilot was able to compensate with roll input. After a normal landing the pilot noticed the rudder horn and approximately 18 inches of the trailing rudder had separated from the aircraft. The rear of the fuselage was wrinkled on both sides of the horizontal stabilizer, and the vertical stabilizer was wrinkled. The forward one-half of the left nose gear door was bent aft approximately 90 degrees. A subsequent search for the missing top 18 inches of the trailing rudder proved unsuccessful. The top 24 inches of the remaining rudder was sectioned and sent to the NTSB Materials Laboratory Division, Washington, D.C., for examination. The Senior Metallurgist noted that the fracture surfaces observed were consistent with overstress separations. No evidence of pre-existing damage such as corrosion or fatigue was found.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The in-flight separation of the top of the rudder assembly for undetermined reasons. Full narrative available
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